Old is the New Black

Today, I get on a plane, which is no big deal. Except it is, though it didn’t used to be.

“I’m afraid I’m going to forget something,” I say to Mary who’s not making the trip this time.

“Forget what? How to play?” She asks.

“No, forget something basic,” I offer. Like my wallet. (I no longer carry one.) Or the rental car information. (Don’t need it.) Or, worst of all, my cleats. (Not a chance.)

I have this low-lying anxiety because over the last few years, none of us have flown anywhere really. Rather, we’ve all gotten used to being home, with our immediate families and close neighbors, mostly sharing time with others via technology, most certainly a harbinger of things to come. All of this will change this morning at eleven, when I board a plane for Tampa Florida, and then rent a car for the short drive south to Sarasota where Fin and I will play in a tournament geared for people over a certain age. Legends they’re calling it the division. Dead Ringers our apt name.

When asked, I like to say I’m twenty-nine. Helps me ignore the reality of my age. Turns out twenty-nine is a favorite answer of many avoiding the obvious.

You are what you feel. They say.

You’re only as old as you let yourself think. They say.

Age is a state of mind. They say.

All true, for the mind. But for the body, which this weekend will attempt to play in six games of ultimate, it’s a different story. Talking the body into feeling like it’s twenty-nine involves hours and hours of training, some of which Fin and I have logged together.

“I’m proud of the two of you,” our Zoom trainer Brent offers during our final, taper workout, some three months since we began the journey he calls reanimation.

Raising the Titanic. He says.

There will be ups and downs, like the stock market. He says.

Let’s go, go, go. He says.

Neither Fin nor I know what to expect. “Should we bet on which one of us will last longer?”

“I’m not much of a betting man,” my feeble answer. “How about a lobster dinner?”

“I was thinking more like the loser has to kiss someone’s naked butt,” Fin suggests, and now I can’t get the image out of my head.

“I don’t think so,” I say with a panicked laugh. And with that, there will be no bet. What used to be a forgone conclusion, lasting six games of a tournament, now the main question of the day — not how do we win, but how do we survive?

Be careful, they say.

Drink lots of water, they say.

You’re nuts, they say.

Ultimate the game to keep me young. The sport that postpones adulthood. Sex, drugs and Rock & Roll replaced with chasing plastic. The sport we grew up on. The sport to teach us life lessons. The sport we return to once more.

Game on! Now what did I forget?

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